EMQ’s with WINTER HOTEL

EMQ’s with WINTER HOTEL

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Bangor, North Wales based Alternative Metal band Winter Hotel. Huge thanks to guitarist Liam Osment, vocalist Warren Porter, and drummer Charlie Wignall, for taking part.

What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?

Liam: I’m Liam and I play guitar for Winter Hotel. I guess the band fell into place when Warren and I met at a social event for Bangor University’s Metal Appreciation Society. Once we realised we were both musicians we met for a jam a few days later… It was a little tricky at first trying to combine Warren’s brutal death metal influences with my own lighter taste in the metalcore/post-hardcore spectrum, but we quickly found an interesting halfway point between the two extremes. From there we were able to find some other members to complete our line-up, and we quickly got to gigging, recording, making merch and all that good stuff. Recently, we’ve had a bit of a re-shuffle in our line-up, at which point I brought Charlie on board. Charlie and I had been in a couple of pop-punk/alt rock bands several years ago, and having experience of what he can do, I knew he’d be a perfect fit for Winter Hotel.

Warren: I am Warren, Winter Hotel’s vocalist. Liam pretty much has it covered. When we first started jamming, I was originally going to be the drummer, but after the first practice I was put on vocal duty!

Charlie: I’m Charlie and I’m Winter Hotel’s newest recruit as a drummer. From what I know, the band have been on a strong up-rise in the Bangor and North Wales metal scene since 2017, however myself and Liam have been in bands together since we were 15/16.

How did you come up with your band name?

Liam: Warren and I had bounced around a lot of ideas, but it came together when Warren suggested November Hotel. From there I think we both settled on Winter Hotel. Warren and I are both huge fans of Stephen King’s ‘The Shining’, and when I see ‘Winter Hotel’ it immediately puts me in mind of the hotel from that story. I’ve always thought our name doesn’t really give away much of an idea of what our sound is. It’s vague and plays with people’s expectations. I think that allows our music to speak for itself.

Warren: My personal inspiration for the name stemmed from the poem by Phil Bowen called November Hotel, as well as the Stanley Hotel in Colorado, the hotel in which Stephen King drew inspiration for his novel, The Shining.

What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

Charlie: The band was formed in Bangor, North Wales where the Metal scene is a tight-knit community, with strong supporters and great local contacts. Liam and I are originally from Lincolnshire, where the music scene is god awful unless you want to be in a T-Rex covers band!

Warren: Bangor is pretty dang juicy with regards to its love and devotion to rock and metal! That passion came as a very pleasant surprise when I arrived in Wales from St. Johns, Michigan USA, in 2017. Michigan has an incredible plethora of music, but bands such as Throne, The Revenant, Pestilent Age, Boreworm and of course The Black Dahlia Murder have been some of my favourite Michigan based acts.

Liam: Bangor was such an unexpectedly great place for us to start. I had no idea that this small city in Wales would be home to so many passionate folks who want to engage with underground bands! Their support has been nothing short of incredible. As Charlie said, where he and I used to be based was pretty dry for rock and metal.

What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)

Charlie: On 6th March 2020 we released our debut single and music video, ‘Lovers At Bay’ (available on Spotify, iTunes, apple music and all other major streaming platforms)

Who have been your greatest influences?

Charlie: Reuben, Devin Townsend, Nine Inch Nails, Smashing Pumpkins, Primus, Whoopi Goldberg.

Liam: Alesana, Hawthorne Heights, The Elijah, Motion City Soundtrack, Pianos Become the Teeth.

Warren: Korpse, Putrid Pile, Cephalotripsy, Cannibal Corpse, Spilling Entrails, Cerebral Incubation.

What first got you into music?

Warren: My mom always played music in the house and car throughout my entire childhood, that constant exposure to music helped inspire me to want to create my own.

Charlie: My older Brother used to pass on his slightly more mature taste in music, but at the time this was stuff like Green Day. I also have family who have had successful careers in music and passed on priceless advice over the years.

Liam: I think I found a few bands I really gelled with from my Sister’s old CD collection when I was around 10 years old. I ended up finding similar artists and it just blossomed from there. My Dad is a guitarist and he taught me how to read tabs, learn songs, and generally encouraged me to pursue music. I was also very fortunate to meet some of my favourite bands who all really inspired me. JT, of Hawthorne Heights, in particular gave me some really useful advice.

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?

Liam: There’s a trance artist I really like called BT. I’d just love to see what kind of an insane fusion of genres we’d make.

Warren: On the metal side, I would love to work with Coprocephalic Mutation. It would also be amazing to collaborate with artists such as Clann and Ic3peak to see what waters we can explore.

Charlie: Jools Holland. I’d make him say our band name in his funny voice.

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

Charlie: Primavera Sound in Spain, fantastic line-up every year.

Liam: I would have loved to play Warped Tour. So many of my influences made their name playing it.

Warren: Deathfeast Open Air, Wacken Open Air and the Obscene Extreme Festival would all be mighty delicious. So much girth.

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

Charlie: A satsuma!

Liam: I’ve yet to be given a gift from a fan. But for future reference, I really like a good Twix!

Warren: High 5’s are always a scrumptious treat!

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

Liam: The world can be a scary place sometimes. Look out for yourselves and look out for each other.

Warren: Don’t just chase your dreams; chase them and beat the shit out of them.

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

Charlie: Bach.

Warren: Martin Funderud from Kraanium, only if he wanted to return of course.

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

Warren: The cycle of creation within music is my favourite aspect of being a musician. To see a song go from one riff or lyric to being recorded and played on a stage is an astonishing feeling. I certainly do not enjoy the price tag of musicianship; but it is well worth it in the long run.

Charlie: The best bit is gigging, by far, but being a drummer can be difficult. It’s expensive and things break often.

Liam: I love playing shows, writing new music and recording. Being a musician is super expensive and very time consuming, but the positives outweigh the negatives by a mile.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

Charlie: I’d like to see more people going to local shows and supporting the smaller bands. In some places the scene is fantastic; Bangor is one of those. But elsewhere there’s no hope for the budding musicians. Giving up £3 and 3 hours of your time to attend a gig makes a world of difference for the underground artists.

Warren: An aspect of the music industry that would be rad to see change is the amount of red tape one has to venture through in order to simply have a bands’ music heard, and performances seen. It’s similar for many artforms, but music is very much its own beast.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Liam: “I Loved, I Hated, I Destroyed, I Created” by The Elijah. It is insanely underrated, everything about it is so impactful and beautiful. The Elijah deserved so much more recognition than they received.

Warren: “Eternally Even” by Jim James is an album that captivates my imagination and senses from start to finish. The album, as a whole, is warm and gentle, but also profound and incredibly thought provoking.

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

Warren: Physical copies of any kind for the collection and direct support. Downloads for the accessibility and convenience.

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

Liam: We played a show in Bangor last May that really stands out to me. It wasn’t the biggest crowd we’d played to by a long shot, but it was made up mostly of some of our most dedicated fans who’d been with us since our first show, it was just such a brilliant atmosphere. I’ll never forget it.

Warren: Playing in the second heat of M2TM this March has been one of my favourite performances of ours so far. That show helped to put our journey into perspective a bit more for me. Before I moved here I said to myself that I wanted to be the vocalist for a metal band in the UK, and playing on that stage while having a music video available definitely made me reflect on the initial setting of that goal. It is a trip.

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

Liam: I completed my undergrad degree in Psychology last July, if I wasn’t a musician, I imagine I probably would have gone on to do a Masters.

Warren: I would probably still be washing dishes and studying poetry at university, but with less gutturals.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Liam: I’m going to assume this also includes fictional characters, so I’m inviting Master Chief (from the Halo series), Katy Perry, Tobey Maguire, Joe Lycett, and a pot-bellied pig. I’d serve goats cheese tarts followed by a smashing tiramisu. It would be a brilliant night.

Warren: That is a doozy. I would order several gluttonous double pepperoni pizzas with extra cheese and invite Andrew Reynolds, Shane Koyczan, Sal Rodriguez (Stages Of Decomposition), Ruben Rosas (Devourment) and Leonardo DiCaprio. Yum.

What’s next for the band?

Liam: We have a lot of exciting stuff lined up. As Charlie said earlier, we just dropped out first single & music video – there’s a lot more where this came from. We’ll also be lining up some more shows pretty soon, so keep an eye out.

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

Liam: You can find our band page at

www.facebook.com/WinterHotelband/

Or follow us on instagram @ winterhotelband

www.instagram.com/winterhotelband/

Our music video is available here:

And you can find our single on Spotify, iTunes, Apple music etc. through this link:

https://distrokid.com/hyperfollow/winterhotel/lovers-at-bay

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Liam: Jaffa Cakes are absolutely NOT a biscuit. They’re smooth misery discs disguised as confectionery.

Warren: I am not well versed enough in such sorcery to know. But I do enjoy a nice Poptart!

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Liam: Thanks for the interview! The only thing I’d like to add is just a massive thank you to everyone who’s been listening to our single, has come to a show or supported us in any capacity. Thank you also to Ever Metal and North East Wales Metal Productions. You are all keeping the scene alive and I can’t put into words how much we appreciate that.

Warren: Not to mention Beany and Fozzy as well as the kind dudes, Dani and Joe, at Powerzone radio.show.

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Bloodstock M2TM 2020 – North Wales Heat 2 – Mcleans, Pentre 07/03/2020 – Leatherback

Disclaimer: This photo album is solely the property of Beth Jones. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of these images, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Bloodstock M2TM 2020 – North Wales Heat 2 – Mcleans, Pentre 07/03/2020 – Krank

Disclaimer: This photo album is solely the property of Beth Jones. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of these images, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Bloodstock M2TM 2020 – North Wales Heat 2 – Mcleans, Pentre 07/03/2020 – Lullaby For A Unicorn

Disclaimer: This photo album is solely the property of Beth Jones. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of these images, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Bloodstock M2TM 2020 – North Wales Heat 2 – Mcleans, Pentre 07/03/2020 – Thrashatouille

Disclaimer: This photo album is solely the property of Beth Jones. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of these images, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Bloodstock M2TM 2020 – North Wales Heat 2 – Mcleans, Pentre 07/03/2020 – Winter Hotel

Disclaimer: This photo album is solely the property of Beth Jones. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of these images, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Bloodstock M2TM 2020 – North Wales Heat 2 – Mcleans, Pentre 07/03/2020

Bloodstock M2TM 2020 – North Wales, Heat 2
Mcleans, Pentre 07/03/2020
Review & Pictures by Beth Jones

We were still dusting ourselves down from the first heat of this year’s Metal 2 The Masses North Wales, when suddenly, quicker than you could say ‘get me on the New Blood stage’, it was time for heat 2! Originally this heat was going to be taking place in Bangor, on the North West Wales coast, but sadly the venue is now an ex-venue. However, because this is North Wales, and the NEW Metal Productions team can handle pretty much anything, it was reorganised to our regular haunt, Mcleans, Pentre!

Five bands were set to take to the stage in this heat, and there were rumblings that this was going to be the toughest heat we had ever seen. Our very own Rick Tilley was asked to stand in as a judge on this heat, as one of the regulars, Phoenix Rising’s John Matthews, was unable to attend. It was pretty certain the judges were going to have a hard task. The ‘order of service’, drawn before we arrived, was Winter Hotel, Thrashatouille, Lullaby For A Unicorn, Krank, and Leatherback. This was going to be fun!

Winter Hotel

Hailing from Bangor, these guys play a hard hitting, modern alternative metal style with a pretty hefty punch. They haven’t been round that long and were using a stand-in bass player. While they had done a fair bit of prep for this, bringing with them printed lyric sheets for the judges, their relative infancy showed in their stage craft, which this year is one of the main things the judges are looking at. Musically they were great, and the charisma of front man, Warren Porter, did shine through. But, in my opinion, they weren’t quite ready, performance wise. However, this is something that will come with practice, and more gigging. They definitely have something exciting to give; they just need to work out how to present it.

https://www.facebook.com/WinterHotelband/

Thrashatouille

We’ve seen these guys a good few times now, including last year’s M2TM North Wales, where they narrowly missed getting a spot in the final. Not to be downtrodden, they decided to return this year to give it another go. It was instantly noticeable that they had a new toy on stage – front man Rob Sutton had a synth that goes boom (not a technical term, but good enough to describe it – I’m old and all this synth trickery goes over my head)! I love the effect that you get out of them, so was looking forward to seeing how he used it, and to seeing how they’d come on since last year. I was not disappointed! From the first chord, to the final boooom, they were bloody brilliant! By far the best we have ever seen them perform. Their madcap food-based death/thrash metal, complete with inflatables, energetic movement on and off the stage from Rob, and a healthy dose of booooooom, was totally something I could imagine going down a storm on the New Blood stage. Epic performance!

https://www.facebook.com/Thrashatouille/

Lullaby For A Unicorn

After being within touching distance of the New Blood stage, as one of last years’ runners-up in the M2TM North Wales final, it was no surprise to see these guys coming to give it another go. I’ve lost count how many times we’ve watched them play but was still as eager to see them again. They are quirky and have an endearing band personality that makes you feel happy, despite the manic and slightly psychotic look in front man Justin Williams’ eyes! They seem to have a bit of a curse on them in this competition though, and they do have a nasty habit of over thinking it. In this performance, a gremlin had got into the sound, and they were plagued with feedback, which I feel threw them off their game a bit. There was none of the usual party popper madness either, which was possibly like taking away their comfort blanket. I still really enjoyed their set though, as I always do, and I was very hopeful that the audience would see past the gremlins, because I know what their ‘A game’ is like.

https://www.facebook.com/rockmyunicorn/

Krank

We last saw Krank in the M2TM heats two years ago, and back then they just weren’t ready, so I was interested to see how they’d come on. Musically they have definitely come a long way, and they make a very good sound together. Carrying on the theme of the evening, it was quirky, humorous, and heavy. They’d obviously spent a bit of time thinking about their stage show, as they had a projector playing a random video in the background, and they also had a large ‘Doomsday clock’ displayed on a laptop for the audience, and the front man to see, as apparently they have a tendency to run over time! They’d brought a lot of fans with them, so they went down well with the crowd. They threw a load of miniature squeaky rubber chickens in to crowd at the start of the set too, which caused a bit of a gigglesome fracas. Unfortunately, even though I think they’re really good musically, something about the front man’s over the top, bullishness really irks me. I find it irritating. Yes, I’m a grumpy old woman, but I just think he needs to tone it down a bit. Let the music do some of the talking, and please, for the love of god, put your tits away! Oh, and another thing – my daughter has now stolen the squeaky rubber chicken we brought home and will not stop squeaking it! Goddamn you!!

https://www.facebook.com/krankislife/

Leatherback

The final performance of the evening was a one-man techno/industrial/metal crossover. My first thought was, ‘I hope they’re going to put the stage lights back on, because the photos won’t be much good otherwise!’ I asked the all-knowing Fozzy, and his response was ‘Just wait and see’. Hmmm, I’m not good with surprises! When the performance started, it became clear what Fozzy meant! Strobe… Lots and lots of strobe! It was like being in a 90s rave! Musically, there were samples, synths and pedals being controlled like clockwork by Matt, aka Leatherback. At the same time, he was playing some pretty tight rhythm guitar. Combined with the strobing and colour changing lights, also controlled by the music, it made for a pretty hallucinogenic experience! I had issues with this performance though, both as a lover of old-school, and as a photographer. He does what he does very well, and with a lot of skill, however what he does, and what I like musically are two very different things. My second issue was the lights. I spent so long looking directly at a strobe, trying to actually capture some useable photos, that my eye and the side of my face went completely numb. That was my cue to leave. I’m going to leave it at that. Clever, but not my cup of tea! It did get the audience going, but on a performance level, I don’t think that it would transpose to a big stage like the New Blood.

https://www.facebook.com/leatherbackworld/

So, with all the bands done, it was time to vote. For me, there was one clear winner, who stood head and shoulders above the rest – Thrashatouille. After a short break, for the judges to deliberate and the audience to cast their votes, master of ceremonies, Beany, returned to the stage to announce the results. I totally couldn’t call it, so can imagine how tough it was for the judges.

First to be announced, and winners of the public vote were Krank, which is a good bit of statistical evidence that other bands should take notice of – the more people you bring with you to your heat, the more likely it is that you’ll win the public vote (unless you really suck and all the people you brought secretly hate you!). The band taking the judges vote, because of their musical ability, professionalism, stage craft and preparation (and rightfully so, if you ask me) were Thrashatouille!

This heat had definitely been a tough one, and it was sad that there had to be winners and losers, but, by definition, that’s what competition is. Onwards and upwards my friends, onwards and upwards! Next up! Heat 3, which takes place on 4th April

LINKS:
https://www.facebook.com/N.E.WMetalProductions/
https://www.facebook.com/bloodstock/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/m2tmofficial/
https://www.facebook.com/Powerzonemetal/
https://www.facebook.com/phoenixrisingrocks/

Disclaimer: This review and photographs are solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Bloodstock M2TM 2020 North Wales, Heat 1 – 29/02/20 – White Mammoth

Disclaimer: This photo album is solely the property of Beth Jones. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of these images, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Bloodstock M2TM 2020 North Wales, Heat 1 – 29/02/20 – Mad Spanner

Disclaimer: This photo album is solely the property of Beth Jones. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of these images, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Bloodstock M2TM 2020 North Wales, Heat 1 – 29/02/20 – Cry For Mercy

Disclaimer: This photo album is solely the property of Beth Jones. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of these images, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.